Breaking news on Twitter

The growth of social media is resulting in more news stories being broken via sites such as Twitter and Facebook – how is this affecting official news channels?

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It may not be new, but it certainly seems that the debate between traditional media outlets and social media has hit a new high after staff at news agency Associated Press have reportedly been reprimanded for breaking news on Twitter (as opposed to through the wire) when several AP journalists were arrested at the Occupy Wall Street camp in Manhattan, US.

It may not be ground-breaking news but certainly highlights the on-going dual between traditional sites and the increasing popularity of social media sites. Anthony de Rosa, social media editor at Reuters tweeted, “News agencies must evolve or face extinction.”

“To bury our head in the sand and act like Twitter (and who knows what else comes into existence next month or five years from now?) isn’t increasingly becoming the source of what informs people in real-time is ridiculous,” he continued.

It certainly seems like a valid point, I know that I have read about breaking news stories on Twitter or even on friends Facebook statuses before I have via official media channels. Celebrity deaths being a prime example, albeit a rather morbid one.

One of the key challenges that social media sites pose is that it’s hard to validate the authenticity of statements with hoaxes and rumours being spread on a daily basis, which could obviously have a damaging effect on a news agency.

Moreover, news agencies business models are based on news being broken through their sites, and not through social media. This therefore could put the entire business model into question.

And there doesn’t seem to be a solution at present.

What’s certain is that I don’t think this will be the end of the saga as it seems apparent that more and more traditional media outlets will have to adjust their strategies to incorporate and include social media.

What do you think?

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